This morning as I was dressing up my 15 month old baby girl, she grabbed her tub of sudocrem and dipped her hand fully into it. Usually, I would scream “Jesus!” Or something more spiritual 😉 but because I was being overly dramatic and trying to be “funny mummy” I put my hands on my head and screamed “Ewooo!” With all the ibo I could muster. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to get her to stop. She’s been walking around all day with her very chubby self *rolling my eyes* scream-inging (no, that’s not an error its a combination of screaming and singing 🙂 ) “Ewoo! Ewoo! Ewoo!”
It finally made sense. You know, when the bible says, Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it (prov 22:6). Are children ever too young to learn? They may not say much but they’re watching.
Even some of the things we do now in our marriages are setting them up for the kind of marriages they will have in future. I remember when I used to teach children in my pre-marriage church. My kids were between the ages of 3 and 5. I remember vividly that I had these two little boys. One named david (eventually found out that wasn’t his real name but after watching a cartoon about david and Goliath he decided he was david. Smart kid) and the other named samson. Now these two boys were 4 years old, about the same height and being taught the same things in children’s church. One difference only- David had this habit of anytime he wanted something from you, he’d first compliment you. For instance, it wasn’t uncommon to hear him say “aunty you’re so beautiful” and just before you finish saying thank you he’d throw in a quick “please I want to drink water”. Now Samson on the other hand had a very brute way of doing things. He was just 4 but he acted like he should always have his way. Never sat in one place when a “female” was teaching. When he wanted something from you. He’d just grab it and when scolded. He would say “why are you talking to me like that. I’ll beat you o!”.
One day I had the luxury of meeting their fathers when it was pick-up time after church. David’s dad picked him up and asked david “have you said thank you to the nice aunty?” Then before waiting for david to respond shook my hand, smiled warmly and said “I know he can be a handful sometimes. Thank you for taking care of him. God bless you”. Samson’s dad hmmm… Well, he’s a work of art now isn’t he? He stormed in like he owned the place. Looked me over like I was his paid servant and without as much as a nod. Grabbed his son by the hand and said “Let’s go my boy”. If I hadn’t just had such a great experience with one dad I’d chuck it up to the fact that men can be insensitive but it’s not men its samson’s father. No wonder his son believed women were to be treated without respect.
Interestingly, a few weeks after, I was teaching and samson seemed to be having his own class at the back so I told him to stand up and share with the whole class what he was telling his friends at the back (honestly, I just did this to try to embarrass him a bit so he’d be quiet next time). Well, to tell you the truth, the joke was on me because I didn’t expect what he came up with next. He told me with this big fat grin on his face “aunty my mummy and my daddy were talking then my mummy come and shout and my daddy said women don’t use to hear and he slapped her and he slam my mummy on the wall.” And he burst out laughing. I had to excuse myself to pick my lower lip from the floor. I could not believe it. Not that I couldn’t believe that his dad would beat his mum. No! Not that man I met that day. He was capable of that and possibly even worse. It was the spirit with which samson was sharing the story. Like he believed his dad was doing the right thing.
Like he was enjoying it.
His dad had probably never sat him down to tell him Women are less than men but as they say children learn more from what they see than what you say. So, but for the grace of God, I suspect that Samson will grow up a woman beater. After all I had scolded him once or twice for shoving girls in class or jumping lines once a girl was in front of him.
I know to the ordinary eye, it seems like no big deal but the truth is these things matter. The things you say around children, the things you do around them. Some people are only christians on sunday forgetting that you are the first pastor your child will encounter. I actually hear of fathers sending their children to buy bottles of beer for them and you’ll hear the man say “buy it and keep it in the fridge and follow your mother to church”. While he sits at home. The child grows up believeing church is for women or men who are “sissies”.
Unfortunately for you kids do as you do; they don’t do as you say. So by the time you get older and want to seek the Lord and serve him, the child is just hitting his prime and wants to “groove” life. Because you give your life to Christ at 50 doesn’t mean that at 20 your child will do it too. He may just decide to live out what (s)he has seen you do too.
I’ve decided to be conscious of teaching my baby the Word and scriptural things because she’s soaking up everything like a sponge. After all she just dropped something now and went “ewoooo!” So I want to be more deliberate about it.
I’m also hoping I can “un-teach” her some stuff. Like this one… But hey! as they say … Like father, like daughter.
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